Preventing fraud and error in welfare to work programmes is taken extremely seriously by the industry.
Providers have stringent policies, systems and processes in place to prevent, detect, and deal with any instances of alleged fraudulent behaviour.
A 2012 investigation by the National Audit Office (NAO) proved that there were very few instances of potential irregularities and most of those related to unintentional errors rather than deliberate false representation of evidence. The NAO report presents compelling evidence that shows that fraud within the welfare to work industry is virtually non-existent.
That same investigation found that significant improvements have been made to DWP’s controls to prevent fraud and error with the introduction of the Work Programme. When all controls are considered, the Work Programme is probably the most heavily audited welfare to work programme there has ever been.
For further information please consult our Policy Brifeing.
Given providers may lose their contracts if systemic fraud is detected within their organisations, it is very much in the industry’s interests, as well as those of the taxpayer, to ensure that fraud and error is prevented from happening in the first place.
Whilst ERSA believes that improvements can always be made, it would caution against imposing heavy handed measures that might have little impact in further eliminating fraud but may create significant extra cost and other downsides for effective delivery and hence mean that fewer jobseekers are found employment.
For further information please read our policy briefing on preventing fraud and error in welfare to work programmes.